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ET. AL. vs. PATRICIA, INC; GR NO. 195834; November 9, 2016; Bersamin The joinder of the action for injunction and the action to quiet title was disallowed
by the Rules of Court (Sec. 5 (b), Rule 63 - The joinder shall not include special civil
FACTS: actions or actions governed by special rules). Thus, RTC should have severed the
causes of action either upon motion or motu propio, and tried them separately,
This is an action for injunction and quieting of title to determine who owns assuming it had jurisdiction based on Section 6, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court
the property occupied by the plaintiffs and intervenor, Ciriano Mijares. (Misjoinder of causes of action - not a ground for dismissal of an action).
Additionally, to prevent Patricia Inc., from evicting the plaintiffs from their
respective improvements along Juan Luna St., plaintiffs applied for a Moreover, petitioners did not show that they were real parties in interest to demand
preliminary injunction in their complaint pending the quieting of title on the either injunction or quieting of title. Hence, the dismissal of this cause of action was
merits. warranted.
Complaint-in-intervention - filed by the City of Manila as owner of the land
occupied by the plaintiffs and by Mijares as they were similarly situated as An action to quiet title or remove the clouds over the title is a special civil action. The
the other plaintiffs. competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and
The preliminary injunction was granted. All parties agreed and admitted in other claimants, not only to put things in their proper place, to make the one who
evidence by stipulation as to the authenticity of the documents. Hence, has no rights to said immovable respect and not to disturb the other, but also for the
since the TCTs of both Patricia, Inc. and the City of Manila are admitted as benefit of both. The two indispensable requisites must concur, namely: (1) plaintiff
genuine, the question now is: Where are the boundaries based on the or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property
description in the respective titles? subject of the action; and (2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed
To resolve the above question, the RTC appointed 3 geodetic engineers as to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative
commissioners. These commissioners ultimately submitted their reports. despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy.

RTC: It ruled in favor of the petitioners and against Patricia, Inc., permanently Legal title denotes registered ownership, while equitable title means beneficial
enjoining the latter from doing any act that would evict the former from their ownership (title derived through a valid contract or relation). To determine whether
respective premises and collecting any rentals from them. It sided with two of the the petitioners as plaintiffs had the requisite interest to bring the suit, a resort to the
commissioners who had found that the land belonged to the City of Manila. allegations of the complaint is necessary.

CA: It reversed the RTCs decision and dismissed the complaint. It declared that the Based on the complaint, the petitioners did not claim ownership of the land itself,
petitioners were without the necessary interest, either legal or equitable title to and did not show their authority or other legal basis on which they had anchored
maintain a suit for quieting of title. It also opined that the RTC should have conducted their alleged lawful occupation and superior possession of the property. They also
hearings on the reports of the commissioners; ruled as highly improper the contended that their continued possession had been for more than 30 years; build
adjudication of the boundary dispute in an action for quieting of title. their houses in good faith and that the area had been declared an Area for Priority
Development (PD 1517).
FOR QUIETING OF TITLE However, none of the above reasons validly clothed them with the necessary interest
to maintain the action for quieting of title. For example, the APD is only granted to
HELD: NO. the occupants of APDs the right of first refusal, but such grant was true only if and
when the owner of the property decided to sell the property. Only then would the
right of first refusal accrue. Consequently, the right of first refusal remained


contingent, and was for that reason insufficient to vest any title, legal or equitable, BILAG VS. AY-AY; GR NO. 189950; APRIL 24,2017; PERLAS-BERNABE
in the petitioners.
The CAs adverse judgment dismissing their complaint as far as the action to quiet
title was concerned was correct. The main requirement for the action to be brought This case stemmed from a complaint for quieting of title with prayer for
is that there is a deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding casting cloud on the preliminary injunction filed by the respondents (Estela Ay-ay, Andres Acop,
plaintiffs title that is alleged and shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite Felicitas Ap-ap, Sergio Ap-ap, John Napoleon Ramirez and Ma. Teresa
its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy, the eliminates the existence Ramirez) against the petitioners (Bernadette Bilag, Erlinda Bilag-Santillan,
of the requirement. Dixon Bilag, Reynaldo Suello, Heirs of Lourdes Bilag, Heirs of Leticia Bilag-
Hanaoka, and Heirs of Nellie Bilag) before the RTC.
Their admission of the genuiness and authenticity of Patricia, Inc.,s title negated the o Respondents alleged that Iloc Bilag (petitioners predecessor-in-
existence of such deed, instrument, encumbrance or proceeding that was invalid, interest), sold to them separately various portions of a 159,
and thus the action must necessarily fail. 496sqms parcel of land situated at Sition Benin, Baguio City
(subject land) and that they registered the corresponding Deeds
Furthermore, the petitioners did not have a cause of action for injunction. The of Sale with the RD of Baguio City.
petitioners must prove the existence of a right to be protected. The records show, o Respondents asserted that Iloc not onl acknowledged full payment
however, that they did not have any tight to be protected because they had and guaranteed that his heirs, successors-in-interest, and
established only the existence of the boundary dispute between Patricia, Inc., if any, executors are to be bound by such sales, but he also caused the
would give rise to the right of action in favor of the City of Manila only. The dispute subject lands to be removed from the Ancestral Land Claims.
did not concern the petitioners at all. o They also alleged that they have been in continuous possession of
the said lands since 1976 when they were delivered to them and
Moreover, the boundary dispute should not be litigated in an action for quieting of that they have already introduced various improvements thereon.
title due to the limited scope of action. The action for quieting of title is a tool However, petitioners refused to honor the foregoing sales by asserting their
specifically used to remove of any cloud upon, doubt, or uncertainty affecting title adverse rights on the subject lands.
to real property; it should not be used for any other purpose. Second, the boundary o They continued to harass respondents, and even threatened to
dispute would essentially seek to alter or modify either the Torrens title of the City demolish their improvements and dispossess them thereof.
of Manila or that of Patricia but any alteration or medication either way should be o Hence, the filed the instant complaint to quiet their respective
initiated only by direct proceedings, not as an issue incidentally raised by the parties titles over the subject lands and remove the cloud cast upon their
herein. ownership as a result of petitioners refusal to recognize the sales.
Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction,
To allow the boundary dispute to be litigated in the action for quieting of title would prescription/laches/estoppel, and res judicata.
invalidate Section 48 of the Property Registration Decree by virtue of its prohibition o Petitioners averred that the subject lands are untitled,
against collateral attacks on Torrens Title. A collateral attack takes place when, in unregistered, and form part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation
another action to obtain a different relief, the certificate of title is assailed as an which were long classified as lands of public domain. Hence, RTC
incident in said action. This is exactly what the petitioners sought to do herein, has no jurisdiction over the case as it is the Land Management
seeking to modify or otherwise cancel Patricia, Inc. title. Bureau which is vested with the authority to determine the issues
of ownership over unregistered public lands.
o Petitioners argued that it is only now, or more than 27 years from
the execution of the Deeds of Sale, that respondents seek to


enforce said Deeds; thus the action is already barred by CA notably omitted from its discussion the first ground relied upon by petitioners,
prescription and/or laches. which is lack of jurisdiction.
o It was pointed out that the respondents had already filed a
complaint against them for injunction and damages before RTC It was well-settled that jurisdiction is defined as the power and authority of a court
Baguio City wherein they principally asserted their ownership over to hear, try and decide a case. Hence, it is important that a court or tribunal should
the subject lands. However, RTC dismissed the case for lack of first determine whether or not it has jurisdiction over the subject matter presented
merit on the ground of respondents failure to show convincing before it, considering that any act that it performs without jurisdiction shall be null
proof of ownership over the same, which was then affirmed by the and void, and without any binding legal effects.
CA on appeal. Hence, petitioners contended that due to the final
and executory ruling, they are already barred by res judicata. Thus, on the issue of jurisdiction, a review of the records shows that the subject lands
form part of a 159, 496sqm situated at Sitio Benin, Baguio City. Hence, such parcel
RTC: It ruled in favor of the petitioner and consequently ordered the dismissal on the of land forms part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation, a portion of which, or 146,
following grounds: no authority to do so; the deeds of sale in respondents favor 428 sqm, was awarded to Iloc due to the reopening of Civil Reservation Case no. 1,
could not as yet be considered title to the subject lands, noting the failure of as evidenced by a decision dated April 22, 1968.
respondents to perfect their title or assert ownership and possession thereof for the
past 27 years; and filing of the instant case is barred by res judicata considering the Moreover, PD 1271 expressly declared that all orders and decisions issued by the CFI
final and executory decision where respondents similarly sought to be declared the Baguio and Benguet in connection with the proceedings for the reopening of Civil
owners of the subject lands. Reservation Case No. 1 covering lands within the Baguio Townsite Reservation are
null and void and without force and effect. It also provides for a means to validate
CA: It set aside the decision of the RTC and set aside the dismissal of the case. It ownership over lands forming part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation, it requires
remanded the case to the court a quo for trial. It held that Civil Case 3934-R was an that a CTC be issued on such lands on or before July 31,1973.
action for injunction where respondents sought to enjoin petitioners alleged entry
into the subject lands and their introduction of improvements thereat; whereas Civil It this case, the records reveal that the subject lands are unregistered and untitled.
Case 5881 is an action to quiet title where respondents specifically prayed, inter alia, Clearly, the award of lots 2 and 3 which includes the subject lands, is covered by the
for the removal of the cloud upon their ownership and possession of the subject blanket nullification provided under PD 1271, and consistently affirmed by the
lands. prevailing case law. Hence, it is only reasonable to concluded that the subject lands
should be properly classified as lands of the public domain as well.
It concluded that while these case may involve the same properties, the nature of
the action differs; hence, res judicata is not a bar to the present suit. With regard to Therefore, the petitioners correctly argued that it is the Director of Lands who has
the issue of laches, prescription or estoppel, CA pointed out that in view of the authority to award their ownership. Thus, the RTC correctly recognized its lack
respondents allegation that they have been in possession of the subject lands since of power or authority to hear and resolve respondents action for quieting of title.
1976, their action to quiet title is imprescriptible. Thus, to reiterate, when a court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, the only
power it has is to dismiss the action, as any act it performs without jurisdiction is null
ISSUE: WON CA CORRECTLY SET ASIDE THE DISMISSAL OF CIVIL CASE 5881-R. and void, and without any binding legal effects.


It must be stressed that in setting aside the order of dismissal of civil case 5881-R
due to the inapplicability of the grounds of res judicata and prescription/laches, the


SPOUSES ALCANTARA VS. SPOUSES FLORANTE AND ZENAIDA ANANIAS, ET. AL.; GR of ownership over Lot no. 16932, and not Lot No. 16931. It declared that Asuncio
NO. 200204; APRIL 25,2017; SERENO Alimon was not a possessor or cultivator of the subject land, a fact that voided the
Free Patent issued to her, as well as the resulting OCT and TCT. It also held that Elvira
FACTS: Alcantara was not a legal heir of Asuncion Alimon.

Spouses Alcantara filed before the RTC a complaint against spouses Belen ISSUE: WON A CERTIFICATE OF TITLE MAY BE SUFFICIENTLY DEFEATED BY TAX
for the quieting of title, reconveyance of possession, and accounting of DECLARATIONS AND DEEDS OF SALE.
harvest with damages.
o Petitioners argued that their neighbors, respondents herein, had HELD: NO.
extended the latters possession up to the titled to spouses
Alcantara, and usurped the harvests therefrom. The Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa and the Tax Declaration submitted by
o They claimed that they were the registered owners of Lot 16932 respondents pertained to the lot in litigation and based on these documents, the CA
(3,887sqm) planted with trees. They traced their ownership of the adjudged sps. Belen the lawful owners of Lot no. 16931. However, these exhibits do
property to her inheritance from her mother, Asuncion Alimon. By not involve Lot 16932. As correctly assessed by the RTC, the parcel of land described
virtue of an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication, Free Patent, and OCT in the Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan ng Lupa does not respond to the description of
were cancelled and a TCT was issued in the name of Elvira Lot no. 16932 as contained in the realtys certificate of title claimed by petitioners.
On the strength of a sales agreement called Kasulatan ng Bilihang Tuluyan Hence, based on the excerpts, it clearly shows that the lot claimed by petitioners is
ng Lupa, respondents countered the petitioners claim over the property. not the property conveyed in the deed of sale presented by respondents. Aside from
They alleged that they bought the property from its prior owners and even their difference in size, the two properties have distinctive boundaries. Therefore,
though they did not have CTC over the property, they supported their claim on the face of the documents, CA incorrectly ruled that these pertained to Lot No.
of ownership with various Tax Declarations under the name of their 16932. Moreover, the Tax Declarations were likewise erroneous, tracing the history
predecessors-in-interest. of the same, none of these refers to Lot no. 16932.
o Respondents also attacked the OCT of Asuncion Alimon. They
claimed that fraud attended the issuance of a Free Patent to her, The last three Tax Declarations were already registered to Spouses Belen. Under
considering that the Belens had occupied the property ever since. these documents, the information is different from those prescribed in TCT T-36252.
According to them, they already protested her title still pending Hence, the RTC accurately ruled that the evidence of respondents consisting of tax
before the CENRO of DENR. declarations shows that what is tax declared in their names is Lot 16931, not Lot
RTC: It ruled in favor of the petitioners. It gave more weight to the CTC and Tax
Declarations presented by petitioners, declaring them the absolute owners of Lot Furthermore, based on established jurisprudence, it was ruled that the certificate of
no. 16932. It further dislodged the use of the Tax Declarations registered under the title of petitioners is an absolute and indefeasible evidence of their ownership of the
names of Sps. Belen and their predecessors-in-interest, because these documents property. The irrelevant Tax Declarations of Sps. Belen cannot defeat TCT of Sps.
did not have the technical description of the land and its boundaries. Further, RTC Alcantara, as it is binding and conclusive upon the whole world.
went to conclude that respondents were claiming Lot no. 16931, a property different
from Lot no. 16932. Aside from presenting a CTC to the claimed property, petitioners submit as evidence
the Tax Declarations registered to them and to their predecessors-in-interest. These
CA: It declared respondents as the owners of Lot 16932 as the petitioners failed to Tax Declarations, together with the CTC presented by petitioners, support their
show their legal entitlement. It found that respondents had presented their claims claims over Lot no. 16932. CA incorrectly disposed of the property in favor of


respondents, considering the indefeasibility of the Torrens title submitted as IGLESIA NI CRISTO VS. HON. PONFERRADA AND HEIRS OF ENRIQUE G. SANTOS; GR
evidence by petitioners. NO. 168943; OCTOBER 27, 2006; CALLEJO, SR.

Moreover, CA failed to cite any specific exhibit on record showing that Asuncion FACTS:
Alimon did not possess the land when she applied for the patent. In effect, it jumped
to conclusions without any sufficient basis for its premise. Based on the Alicia, Alfredo, Roberto, Enrique and Susan, all surnamed Santos, and Sonia
jurisprudence, the courts must refrain from making a declaration of heirship in an Santos-Wallin (Heirs of Enrique Santos), filed a complaint for Quieting of
ordinary civil action because matters relating to the rights of filiation and heirship Title and/or Accion Reinvindicatoria before the RTC of Quezon City against
must be ventilated in a special proceeding instituted precisely for the purpose of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
determining such rights. Based on the foregoing, CA precluded from determining the Respondents alleged that, during his lifetime, Enrique Santos was the
issue of filiation in a proceeding for the quieting of title and accion reinvindicatoria. owner of a 936-sqm parcel of land located in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.
He had been in possession of the owners duplicate of said title and had
Based on the records, there is no allegation, as regards the parties, a special been in continuous, open, adverse and peaceful possession of the property.
proceeding was instituted but was finally closed and terminated. In the proceedings o He died on February 1970 and was survived by his wife, Alicia and
before the RTC, none of the parties exhaustively presented evidence regarding the his children. They took peaceful and adverse possession of the
issue of filiation. Neither did the trial court make any pronouncement as regards that property, and of the owners duplicate of said title.
issue. Thus, the CA should not have adjudicated the status of Elvira Alcantara as a When the RD of Quezon City was burned, the original copy of said title was
legitimate daughter or an adopted child in succeeding rights of Asuncion Alimon. burned as well. The RD had the title reconstituted based on the owners
duplicate (TCT 57272). However, sometime in 1996, the respondents
learned that the petitioners was claiming ownership over the property
based on TCT 320898, under the name of PNB, which allegedly cancelled
TCT 252070 in the names of sps. Dela Cruz.
o They insisted that TCT nos. 321744, 320898 and 252070 were not
among the titles issued by the RD of Quezon City and even if the
RD issued said titles, it was contrary to law.
Enrique Santos, during his lifetime, and his heirs, after his death, never
encumbered or disposed the property. In 1996, plaintiffs had the property
fenced but defendant deprived them of the final use and enjoyment of their
Petitioners moved to dismiss plaintiffs complaint on the following grounds:
(1) plaintiffs failed to faithfully comply with the procedural requirements
set forth in Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure; (2) the
action (either Quieting of Title or Accion Reinvindicatoria) had prescribed,
the same having been filed only on October 24, 2001 beyond the statutory
ten-year period therefor; and (3) that the complaint is defective in many
o Petitioners asserted that the case involved more than one
respondent but the verification and certification against forum


shopping incorporated in the complaint was signed only by RTC: It denied the petitioners motion to dismiss. It declared that since Enrique
Enrique Santos. Although the complaint alleges that plaintiffs are Santos was one of the heirs, his signature in the verification and certification
represented by Enrique Santos, there is no showing that he was, constitutes substantial compliance with the Rules.
indeed, authorized to so represent the other plaintiffs to file the
complaint and to sign the verification and certification of non- CA: It affirmed the decision of the RTC, holding that the RTC did not commit GADALEJ
forum shopping. Thus, plaintiffs failed to comply with Section 5, in denying petitioners motion to dismiss. As the Court held in DAR v. Alonzo-Legasto
Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. and in Gudoy v. Guadalquiver, the certification signed by one with respect to a
o Petitioners maintained that the complaint is defective in that, property over which he shares a common interest with the rest of the plaintiffs
although there is an allegation that Enrique Santos represents the (respondents herein) substantially complied with the Rules. As to the issue of
other heirs, there is nothing in the pleading to show the latters prescription, the appellate court held that the prescriptive period should be
authority to that effect; the complaint fails to aver with reckoned from 1996, when petitioner claimed ownership and barred respondents
particularity the facts showing the capacity of defendant from fencing the property.
corporation to sue and be sued; and the pleading does not state
the address of plaintiffs. Petitioner likewise averred that the ISSUES: WON THE ACTION FOR QUIETING OF TITLE AND/OR ACCION
complaint should be dismissed on the ground of prescription. It REINVINDICATORIA HAS NOT YET PRESCRIBED.
argued that respondent anchor their claim on quieting of title and
considering that they are not in possession of the land in question, HELD: YES.
their cause of action prescribed after ten years.
o On the other hand, if the supposed right of plaintiffs is based on On the issue of prescription of action, petitioner avers that the action of respondents
accion reinvindicatoria, prescription would set in after 10 years is one to quiet title and/or accion reinvindicatoria, and that respondents asserted
from dispossession. In both cases, defendant asserts, the ownership over the property and sought the recovery of possession of the subject
reckoning point is 1984 when defendant acquired TCT No. 321744 parcel of land. It insists that the very nature of the action presupposes that
and possession of the land in question. respondents had not been in actual and material possession of the property, and
Respondents averred that the relationship of a co-owner to the other co- that it was petitioner which had been in possession of the property since 1984 when
owners is fiduciary in character; thus, anyone of them could effectively act it acquired title thereon. The action of respondent prescribed in ten years from 1984
for another for the benefit of the property without need for an when petitioner allegedly dispossessed respondents, in accordance with Article
authorization. Consequently, Enrique Santos had the authority to represent 555(4) of the New Civil Code.
the other heirs as plaintiffs and to sign the verification and certification
against forum shopping. On the issue of prescription, respondents argued The contention of petitioner has no merit. The nature of an action is determined by
that the prescriptive period for the actions should be reckoned from 1996, the material allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought by
when petitioners claimed ownership over the property and barred plaintiffs plaintiff, and the law in effect when the action was filed irrespective of whether he
from fencing their property, not in 1984 when TCT No. 321744 was issued is entitled to all or only some of such relief. As gleaned from the averments of the
by the Register of Deeds in the name of defendant as owner. complaint, the action of respondents was one for quieting of title under Rule 64 of
Petitioners averred that absent any authority from his co-heirs, Enrique the Rules of Court, in relation to Article 476 of the New Civil Code.
Santos must implead them as plaintiffs as they are indispensable parties. In
response, respondent aver that a co-owner of a property can execute an A cloud is said to be a semblance of a title, either legal or equitable, or a cloud of an
action for quieting of title without impleading the other co-owners. interest in land appearing in some legal form but which is, in fact, unfounded, or


which it would be inequitable to enforce.1[38] An action for quieting of title is Since respondents were in actual or physical possession of the property when they
imprescriptible until the claimant is ousted of his possession. The owner of a real filed their complaint against petitioner on October 24, 2001, the prescriptive period
property, as plaintiff, is entitled to the relief of quieting of title even if, at the time of for the reinvindicatory action had not even commenced to run, even if petitioner
the commencement of his action, he was not in actual possession of real property. was able to secure TCT No. 321744 over the property in 1984.
After all, under Article 477 of the New Civil Code, the owner need not be in
possession of the property. If on the face of TCT No. 321744 under the name of
plaintiff, its invalidity does not appear but rests partly in pais, an action for quieting
of title is proper.

In the present case, respondents herein, as plaintiffs below, alleged in their
complaint, that their father, Enrique Santos, was the owner of the property based
on TCT No. 57272 issued on July 27, 1961; and that, after his death on February 9,
1970, they inherited the property; Enrique Santos, during his lifetime, and
respondents, after the death of the former, had been in actual, continuous and
peaceful possession of the property until 1994 when petitioner claimed ownership
based on TCT No. 321744 issued on September 18, 1984 and barred respondents
from fencing their property. Petitioners claim that it had been in actual or material
possession of the property since 1984 when TCT No. 321744 was issued in its favor
is belied by the allegations in the complaint that respondents had been in actual and
material possession of the property since 1961 up to the time they filed their
complaint on October 24, 2001.

Admittedly, respondents interposed the alternative reinvindicatory action against
petitioner. An accion reinvindicatoria does not necessarily presuppose that the
actual and material possession of the property is on defendant and that plaintiff
seeks the recovery of such possession from defendant. It bears stressing that an
accion reinvindicatoria is a remedy seeking the recovery of ownership and includes
jus possidendi, jus utendi, and jus fruendi as well. It is an action whereby a party
claims ownership over a parcel of land and seeks recovery of its full possession. Thus,
the owner of real property in actual and material possession thereof may file an
accion reinvindicatoria against another seeking ownership over a parcel of land
including jus vindicandi, or the right to exclude defendants from the possession
thereof. In this case, respondents filed an alternative reinvindicatory action claiming
ownership over the property and the cancellation of TCT No. 321744 under the name
of petitioner. In fine, they sought to enforce their jus utendi and jus vindicandi when
petitioner claimed ownership and prevented them from fencing the property.